Google offers Local Guides program for Google Maps

Google has updated its Local Guides program for Google Maps, rewarding people who regularly leave reviews, upload photos, or add information for restaurants, tourist spots, and other locations with increased Google Drive storage and early access to new products.

Google has announced that it is giving away one terabyte of cloud storage on Google Drive to users who post reviews, photos, and other such information that helps the company improve the mapping and navigation service. One terabyte of space of Google drive currently costs $9.99 a month.

Local Guides in the words of the company is “a global community that helps you explore the world while earning perks.” The program is a bit similar to and launched in competition to Foursquare and Yelp.

The one TB of storage space is only one of the offers in the five point list announced by Google. The company is also giving away early-bird access to new features and products.  More the contribution from the users the more the points they earn on the program. More points invariably translate into bigger bonuses.

The company has been slowly expanding its Local Guides program over the past year to fill Google Maps with more relevant information. In August, it tested a new feature that detected when food photos were taken at restaurants and automatically uploaded them, attaching them to the location so other users could see what they could be eating.

While Google Maps has traditionally been seen as the the mapping market leader after Apple Maps’ shaky launch, Apple has stepped up development on its product, adding public transport directions and apparently gearing up to introduce its own take on Google’s street view. But by adding real-world rewards for Local Guides, Google has made buying in to its program — and by extension Google Maps — a much more appealing concept.

Here’s the full point system according to Google:

  • Level 1 (0 – 4 points): Enter exclusive contests (think new Google devices!) in select countries.
  • Level 2 (5 – 49 points): Get early access to new Google products and features.
  • Level 3 (50 – 199 points): Show up in the Google Maps app with your official Local Guides badge.
  • Level 4 (200 – 499 points): Receive a free 1 TB upgrade of your Drive storage, allowing you to keep all the stories, photos, and videos from your travels in one safe place.
  • Level 5 (500+ points): The very top Local Guides will become eligible to apply to attend our inaugural summit in 2016, where you’ll be able to meet other top Guides from around the world, explore the Google campus, and get the latest info about Google Maps. Look out for details early next year.

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